Sunday, May 06, 2007

Church #36: Greater Cincinnati Church of God

1. Who attended? Bradley & Erica.

How welcome did you feel at this church?
1: I was so uncomfortable and/or offended that I did not stay to the end of services.
10: This church was welcoming and thought-provoking. I would recommend that others experience this church.


3. Picture(s) of the church
N/A. Sorry I didn't get a better head-on picture!

4. Name/location of the church:
Greater Cincinnati Church of God
8290 Batavia Pike
Cincinnati, OH 45244
No known website.

5. Was it recommended to Church Hop?
Nope; we passed it en route to last week's church.

6. Time/duration of services:
10:45am--something like 12:30pm.

7. What type of religion did the church cater to?
Aye yi yi. Church of God?

8. Who did you meet?
I feel like I might have shaken nearly every congregation member's hand-- this church was wildly welcoming. I didn't take away any names, however.

9. If applicable, scans of handouts, tracts, etc

10. Church Hopper’s personal experience with the church, additional details:

ERICA: First off, "Church of God" is so vague. I've been Hopping for a year now and sometimes I'm frustrated that I still can't tell some sects apart. Remember this Church of God? There were definitely similar elements in this church, but it was also largely different. I guess it all boils down to the fact that every church is different, right?

So first off, how welcome did I feel? Very. Maybe too much so? It can be a little intimidating when you walk into a church and everyone *immediately* recognizes you as a new visitor. Still, before we were even inside the door we were being greeted. One woman invited us to a breakfast that was just ending. Another woman gave me information about the church.

(Quick side note: Bradley's a person too. He's 16 years old, so sometimes it really bothers me when people speak only to me at a church. It happens more than you'd think. People hand me one visitor card, or one program, and often act as though Bradley isn't there. Now, this wasn't completely the case at this church, but it's still something I want to sound off about.)

After we found our seats, there was more fellowship. More hand shaking, more small talk. All fine and dandy-- this church was incredibly social and tight-knit, or at least seemed that way. We were definitely welcomed, though I think only one person asked our names.

The church was pretty large, itself... kind of barnlike, as you can see from the picture on top of this post. Tall ceilings, loud music, lots of involvment (Can I get an "Amen"?). The pastor (is that the right term, in the Church of God? Pastor?) was energetic-- reminded me of an auctioneer, at times.

Oh, and just when I thought I'd seen every possible communion method... this time, during the music, a few people took communion on their own. No one ever said anything about it... just a handful of people did it, alone. This church also has Wednesday night services, so I would guess that's when they do a ritual communion. But that's a guess.

Brad: Well, this church was very interesting. I can remember driving by it as it was being built, and it's a realitivly large church in itself, which was painted and presented pretty nicely. Anyway, this church was so welcoming it almost hurt. It's very nice to be greeted into something that's so personal for most people, but it's even more awkward to be cast as a "visitor" with just a simple glance, like Erica said.

They went through a run of announcements, and some people were still coming in and out, and kids running through the halls, and the band was still getting some mic problems out the way. And older gentleman came up and handed Erica and I some hard candy with a scripture passage on it. A nice gesture, but a little unexpected.

Anyway, this church couldn't have had more than 50 people, which I've found is pretty small for a church, but they all seemed to have a clue and hand in what was going on. The music started, and it was very loud. It wasn't so loud I couldn't stand it, but they could have afforded to tone it down a bit, considering the projector was shaking because of the amplification.

After a while of songs, the preacher came up. This guy had some good things to say, but a style I wasn't much used to. It was very high paced and loud. I could only think of one thing during, which is "if you highlight everything, you highlight nothing". It just really turned me off, because he had such a high energy thing going.

I guess I just couldn't help feel very odd in this church.


JenLo said...

Just for general FYI, Christian churches are generally divided into 2 groups - Catholic and Protestant. Catholics tend to be very similar to one another with specific masses and church formats. But Protestant churches have lots of denominations (Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene, Lutheran, etc) so there is LOTS of variation even among the same denomination sometimes. Church of God is one of those Protestant denominations. The difference between denominations can be anything from theological differences to minor issues that churches have disagreed on and caused them to split off from one another at some point. There are also non-denominational Christian churches which aren't affiliated with any specific denomination so they are just independent Christian churches. All the churches you've gone to so far are Christian churches (versus other religions like Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc).

Eebs said...

Thank you, JenLo! There's so much abotu even the basic religious stuff that I still have no idea about. I took a couple comparative religion classes in college but they assumed you already knew these kinds of things, I guess...

d-mc said...

Jenlo did a great job explaining the whole protestant vibe (or lack thereof).

Also, in protestant churches, communion is handled in about as wide a variety as you can imagine. Some churches do it every Sunday morning. Some do it at night. Some do it once a month. Some whenever they feel like it.

My church ( has a communion table set up to the side of the auditorium where anyone can take it whenever they want. They actually do this so guests dont feel uncomfortable during communion.

Then once a month we have a Sunday evening service where we all take it together.

By the way-if you want to see me doing something really pastorly (I am ordained), you can check me out on YouTube where we had an 80's party at work last week. (I'm now a tax accountant).


btw-i'm Dee. And it was sprinkling. You'll understand when you see it.

P. Zefo said...

Hey, I've commented a couple of times before, you may remember me.

"Church of God" describes several denominations within protestant Christianity. Most are what would be referred to as "pentecostal" (re: Mt. Carmel and probably this one). The largest of the COG's is based out of Cleveland, TN. These are the pentecostal churches (i.e. - speaking in tongues). Another large COG is based out of Anderson, IN. They are Nazarene, I think.

Tom Neyhart said...

I am a worship minister and I am curious to get your opinion. I am not a big fan of having a spot in the service where people stand to shake hands of those around them. I have always thought that it is something than can be uncomfortable to visitors. It seems to be more genuine when people talk and shake hands before and after the service when they do it because they want to rather than force it upon people. And tell them to do in the service.

Anonymous said...

Church hopping suggestion for a future visit. University Christian Church (next to Hughes High School) 245 W. McMillan.

I lived in cincinnati for 5 years. Would love to hear your thoughts on this church.


Eebs said...

Thank you all for your comments! Sorry I've been slacking a little as far as responding to them, but I appreciate each one.

D-MC: Uhhhhhm, hahaha...

P.Zefo: Of course I remember you, and thank you for the clarification.

Tom: Yeah, I am typically a little uncomfortable during the shaking-hands part, but I recognize it as an effort toward fellowship, so it doesn't bother me too much.

Shannon: We'll keep in mind for a future visit, thank you. :)